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Tom Telesco: "We Have a Bigger Chip on Our Shoulder"

Take a look at all of the Chargers players that will be at training camp this year.

It's finally back to football for the San Diego Chargers, who kick off training camp with their first practice this morning.

Perhaps no one is more eager, excited and relieved to get started than Tom Telesco. 

The general manager explained how every year brings new motivations, and that is certainly the case coming off a 4-12 campaign.  But nonetheless, they have turned the page on the past and don't plan to look back.

"It's a different (motivation) than the last couple years," Telesco said.  "I wouldn't say last year's record impacted us differently because every year you have a different motivation.  The first year we go 9-7 into the playoffs, coming off that playoff game our motivation was to go farther than we did.  Then the year after that we go 9-7 and don't make the playoffs, and there was that huge motivation that we should have been in the playoffs. So you have a chip on your shoulder from that.  This is different. We went 4-12 and probably have a bigger chip on our shoulder. It's a huge motivation to show your fans and show everybody that we are better than we showed last year."

For Telesco, that meant turning last year's weaknesses into this year's strength.  The front office laid out a plan at the start of the offseason to improve in certain areas, evidenced in their free agent and draft day decisions.

"We certainly put an emphasis on special teams this year," Telesco said.  "We also wanted to solidify the offensive and defensive lines where we could, and we did that.  We wanted to add some speed on offense, and we did that, too.  We wanted to add some help on the defensive line, so it wasn't just Corey (Liuget). So we tried to add some more impact players there so we could help solidify the lines like I said."

One of those decisions was drafting Joey Bosa with the third overall pick, but the defensive end won't be on the field this morning as he has yet to sign his contact.  Telesco said he understands how everyone wants a Bosa update, but there is nothing new to report on that front.

Nonetheless, over 20 rookies will be on the field, including seven members of this year's draft class.  While the first two days are similar to OTA practices, Telesco is eager to see how they fare when the pads go on on Monday. As he explained, there are some positions that you can't truly evaluate until then.

"We really liked our offseason. But you don't know how everybody is going to respond when we get into battle until the pads come on and the bullets start flying, whether that is an August practice or whether that is a preseason game.  (You see more) up the middle.  Safeties, linebackers, defense-offensive line, fullbacks, running back; those are the guys I notice in OTAs, but they are out in space. There is no contact, and obviously we are still not finishing any plays, but those are the ones you have to see when the pads come on."

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